Unique American Heritage
The state of New Mexico holds a lot of gems that are admired by both locals and the throngs of tourists that visit it all year round. However, while many of them can be categorized as conventional tourist attractions, there are some places that are entirely unique and hold in them a mystery that attracts visitors the most. One of these places is the legendary and a one of a kind museum known as Billy the Kid Museum. Unlike most museums that hold historical works of art, this place is home to some very invaluable gems that represent a very unique American heritage. Based over an area of 20,000 sq. ft this amazing museum holds countless exhibits about the infamous Billy the Kid and other artifacts which include antique wagon trains, household goods, guns and several other items from the frontier era. The museum is a true dedication not only to Billy the Kid himself but also the overall lifestyle of that era. It is one of the most interesting tourist spots in New Mexico. Read on to find out more about it.
Billy the Kid – History
American folklore is filled with stories about legendary outlaws that prowled the streets during that era and Billy the Kid, whose real name was Henry McCarty was one of them. Being a teenager and a ruthless and vicious killer made Billy a legend quicker than anyone else from that time and being a man with multiple identities, it is hard to separate the truth from the myth. To really understand his lifestyle and his spree of killings, it is important that you take off your modern law glasses and judge the character according to his own time when knowing how to shoot meant all the difference between life and death. One of the most prominent things about him is his participation in the Lincoln County War in which he had a significant role. While he was a notorious killer, what’s particularly interesting is the fact that he never did any other crimes like robberies, raping women or any irresponsible activities while being in a drunk state of mind. Also he was quite the moderate outlaw when we compare him to other famous names of the era like Butch Cassidy, Clay Allison, and The Daltons etc. To keep it straight we can say that Billy was neither a hero nor a villain, but merely a victim of his own circumstances.
The Museum itself was opened by Ed Sweet in 1953 and since all the items he had collected over the years were mostly connected with Billy the Kid, he decided to name the museum “Billy the Kid Museum”. With continuous and tireless collection of relics and expansion of the museum, today it proudly houses over 60,000 unique items out of which several have great historical value. Currently the museum is being run by Ed Sweet’s son Donald Sweet. Helping him out in running the museum is Lula, who is his wife and Tim, Donald’s son.
What to do?
The museum is a great place to revisit a side of American history that is currently being relived in a lot of different movies. You can go through the vast collection of items and see all kinds of things which include guns, household material and several other important relics from that era. To find out more about Billy’s involvement in the war, you can watch the film that they play at the museum for the visitors and through that a much clearer and personal perspective about Billy is also gained. To really make your visit to the museum personal and carry the story of Billy the Kid with you, you can visit the souvenir shop and buy all sorts of items which include mugs, shot glasses, books, t-shirts, postcards and several other things.
Timings and tickets
The museum is closed during the first two weeks of January and is open from 8.30am till 5pm. Tickets for adults cost $5 where as senior citizens are granted entry for $4. Children aged 7-15 are allowed in for $3 and any child aged 6 or less is granted free entry.
It is highly recommended that you set aside proper time to visit Billy the Kid Museum whenever you are in New Mexico. There isn’t a better way to visit the old times than to spend the afternoon in this museum.